Angela Merkel Turns Down Request to Accompany Chinese President on Memorial Tour

The two German WWII Memorials (left: Unter den Linden Memorial to the Victims of Fascism and Militarism; Right: Bradenburg Gate Memorial to Kileld Jews during Nazi Regime) Chinese President Xi Jinping hopes to visit with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

The two German WWII Memorials (left: Unter den Linden Memorial to the Victims of Fascism and Militarism; Right: Bradenburg Gate Memorial to Kileld Jews during Nazi Regime) Chinese President Xi Jinping hopes to visit with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
The two German WWII Memorials (left: Unter den Linden Memorial to the Victims of Fascism and Militarism; Right: Bradenburg Gate Memorial to Kileld Jews during Nazi Regime) Chinese President Xi Jinping hopes to visit with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

According to a report, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has turned down Chinese President Xi Jinping’s request to accompany him on his visit to Germany’s Holocaust Memorial.

The report further went on that the German Chancellor’s hesitation is due to her fear that the memorial tour with President Xi would be used as part of China’s publicity against Japan and would be added as fodder to the bad blood existing between both countries over the crimes the former experienced in the hands of the latter during the Second World War.

President Xi is coming to Germany for a visit by the end of March and his aides-de-camp has specifically requested for an official tour with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on the standing stones built in honor of the six million Jews who died during the Nazi regime located near the Brandenburg Gate. 

The Two Leaders: Chancellor Angela Merkel (Germany) and Pres. Xi Jinping (China).
The Two Leaders: Chancellor Angela Merkel (Germany) and Pres. Xi Jinping (China).

However, the report on The Telegraph said that the request had been declined by Merkel’s office. Additionally, the Chinese President’s offer to call on the Memorial to the Victims of Fascism and Militarism on the Unter den Linden with German Chancellor Angela Merkel was, likewise, turned down.

President Xi’s official tour on Germany’s Second World War memorial sites is aimed at highlighting Japan’s failure to “apologize” for the crimes they committed during WWII against the Chinese. The Chinese government has also cited Germany as a prime example of a country which had taken full responsibility of its actions during the war. In doing the Germany tour, China’s government intends to further cause embarrassment to Japanese officials, The Telegraph report points out.

German publication Spiegel has written about the snub this week saying:

“The German government, according to Berlin sources, wants to avoid becoming involved in the tiff over history currently straining relations between Beijing and Tokyo.”

Nonetheless, Government sources stressed out that the Chinese president “was, of course, welcome to visit the WWII Memorial sites on his own time”.

It can be remembered that China suffered greatly upon Japan’s invasion within its territory before Second World war broke out in Europe.

An allied military tribunal gave the estimate of the country’s deaths during that time to 142,000 but the Chinese claimed that the true number of casualties was really double that – 300,000.

Jananese Navy in Nanking, China during WWII. (Photo: Wikimedia)
Jananese Navy in Nanking, China during WWII. (Photo: Wikimedia)

Lately, China has been vocally reprimanding Japan for not showing the same ‘sorry attitude’ Germany expressed for the war crimes the Nazi regime committed during WWII since 1945.

Japan has already communicated its apologies for the suffering it caused China during WWII but the continuous periodic visits some of its leaders have been doing on the Yasukuni Shrine, a Japanese war memorial dedicated to the country’s wartime leaders, is a bothersome matter for Beijing.

The last visit to the said war shrine was made by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe late last December.

An undisclosed German diplomatic source said these words about the refusal of German Chancellor Angela Merkel to accompany Chinese President Xi on an official tour around the country’s war memorials:

“The Germans are really uncomfortable with this kind of thing. They don’t like China constantly comparing them with Japan and going on about the war.

Mrs. Angela doesn’t want to be a pawn in any propaganda war.”

The Daily Mail reports

Heziel Pitogo

Heziel Pitogo is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE